Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Review: Science Demonstrations DVDs

How many other nails do you think you can balance on the head of single nail?  That’s just one of the questions we sought to answer as we watched a pair of Go Science DVDs.  This is the second series of science demonstrations being distributed by Library and Educational Services.  We had previously reviewed two DVDs from the first series and when my Schnickelfritz heard there was the opportunity to see more, he quickly chose the Sound/Gravity/Space and Engineering/Design/Flight volumes.  (As a side note: I’m a frequent L&ES customer and as long as they were shipping to my door, I ordered next year’s inductive Bible studies too).

Each DVD is hosted by Bob Roy, teacher of science methods at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and former director of Science Theater for a local news channel.  He’s joined, either on his back yard set or in a real field, by a group of kids and sometimes his dog.  The kids assist him in a series of science demonstrations which always end with “Every time we learn more about science, we learn more about our Creator….God.”  You’ll notice I’m using the word “demonstration” rather than “experiment” –we’re not testing a hypothesis or following the scientific method here.  Mr. Roy doesn’t even go into great depth to explain why the things work the way they do --  it’s really more like using science for brief sermon illustrations.

Volume One: Sound, Gravity, Space 

This 78 minute DVD contains the following demonstrations:


Workings of a Piano Water Whistle
Screaming Pop Can Candle Seesaw
Balloon with Nut Drop Book with Paper
Simple Telephone Sun-Golf Balls
Rueben’s Tube Solar Bag
Breaking Glass UV Beads
Organ Pipes Bang Barrel
Stick with String  

I’ve highlighted the demos that could be done at home, although you’ll have to determine the supply list and how to build any of the gadgets yourself.   The picture below is of the Screaming Pop Can activity.  By blowing VERY hard through a straw placed nearly between two cans we could make a VERY  annoying sound.  

Go Science: Screaming Pop Cans

The video demonstration ends with a brief discussion about pleasant vs. unpleasant sounds and that the prayers we say are a very pleasant sound to God’s ears.

Schnickelfritz thought the coolest demonstration was Rueben’s Tube, named after the man who discovered a way to “see” sound waves as flickering flames dance while sound is being passed through a tube of flammable gas.   This one obviously can’t be done at home.

Volume Seven: Engineering, Design, Flight

This 56 minute DVD contains the following demonstrations:


How Much Will it Hold Leaning Tower of Lyra
Nail Balance Trebuchet
Centrifuge Walking on Eggs
Bed of Nails Rocket Balloon
Vinegar Rocket Toiler Paper on Paint Roller
Film Canister Rocket  

We have our own vinegar rocket (a commercially made one) that we used and had a little more success than they did on the DVD.  It’s getting harder and harder to find film canisters (in fact, some kids probably don’t know what they are) but we had one from summer science at the local library where Fritz did the same activity.  And here’s a picture of our nail balance (incidentally, our answer to the opening question was 15 nails).  The mini-sermon point here was the each one of us has been given a purpose by God and when we work together we can set the world on fire.

Go Science: Nail Balance

The age recommendation for the DVD’s is 4-12.   This is down from the 6-14 age range listed on Series One of  Go Science and I’m wondering if it might not need to be lowered slightly more.  We reviewed Series One when Fritz was nine and he watched the demos over and over again.  In fact, he’d raise his hand and answer like he was one of the in studio kids (you can read that review with a click here).  Now he’s eleven and he watched the DVD’s when the package first arrived and once again with me when we did some of the activities ourselves, but he hasn’t viewed them again.

The DVD’s won’t be wasted though—I’m saving them to use for devotions as I lead Ranger Kids (K-2nd)  this fall. I really think it’s the best forum for the series.  The demonstrations are very engaging for younger kids, Mr. Roy is so enthusiastic, each one only lasts 5-10 minutes, and they all end with a Christian application. 

We’ve recently become very sensitive to the needs of the hearing impaired in our home and I will mention that these DVD’s do not have captioning. The Go Science DVD’s are available through Library and Educational Services for $8.97 per title. In order to purchase anything from this vendor you must fit in one of the following categories.

  • Resellers
  • Libraries, Library Directors, and Librarians
  • Schools, Teachers, and other School Leaders
  • Churches and Church Leaders
  • Home Educators
  • Missionaries
  • Licensed Day Care Centers
  • Specialty Stores


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